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Facebook: Patent Originally Filed By Abraham Lincoln?

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by Mariel Norton, 09 May 2012News

When the highly-publicised feud between the Winklevoss brothers and Mark Zuckerberg finally came to an end, we thought that would be the last of Facebook's worries.  But yesterday, a rumour set the virtual world on fire - and that apparently, Abraham Lincoln attempted to patent a concept much alike Facebook back in 1845.

Yep, we nearly fell for it too.

According to blogger Nate St. Pierre, Lincoln's idea was rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

After visiting the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois, St. Pierre came across the Springfield Gazette - but instead of being a newspaper, turned out to be "the visual appendix to a patent application" for a 19th century social network," he said. 

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"Lincoln was requesting a patent for The Gazette, a system to keep People aware of Others in the Town," said St. Pierre.

But wait!  It gets better!

"The first column underneath his picture contains a bunch of short blurbs about what's going on in his life at the moment -- work he recently did, some books the family bought, and the new games his boys made up. In the next three columns he shares a quote he likes, two poems, and a short story about the Pilgrim Fathers. I don't know where he got them, but they're obviously copied from somewhere. In the last three columns he tells the story of his day at the circus and tiny little story about his current life on the prairie."

There was just one tiny flaw in this clever hoax, identified by this clever commentator: "newspapers of the era couldn't reproduce photographs. Until the 1880s or so, photographs had to be turned into engravings before printing."

Spokesman for the Lincoln Museum, Dave Blanchette, said: "It is a complete but clever hoax."

Bet the 5,000 people who shared it from St. Pierre's site wished they had found that out earlier.

Image credit: Nate St. Pierre

Source: CNET

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